Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Week 3
Three weeks in, and so much has changed already in the fantasy and real-life landscape. I didn’t see the Warriors’ tank job coming, did you? Kawhi Leonard is undergoing load management even though he said it wouldn’t be an issue. The Suns look legit, even without Deandre Ayton. The Kings aren’t running for whatever reason. John Collins is suspended. LeBron James isn’t washed. The Grizzlies aren’t letting the young guys run wild and free.
It’s time for us to adjust accordingly, and now that we have a little bit of data, we can apply it to our fantasy rosters.
Every other week, I’m going to be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing in on eight-cat leagues, because turnovers are a waste of a category if we’re being honest. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories that you can get before your leaguemates catch on.
The eight categories we’ll focus on each week are:
- Field-Goal Percentage
- Free-Throw Percentage
Let’s get to it.
Jabari Parker (SF/PF – ATL) 46%
Parker was putting up numbers when John Collins was playing, but after Collins’ 25-game suspension, Parker is really going to be a key part of the Trae Young-led offense. In his first start Wednesday, Parker scored 18 points and he did it efficiently. He can also be a contributor in field goal percentage, rebounds, and defense. He should be up over 60 percent by the end of the week, so grab him now before it’s too late.
Willie Cauley-Stein (PF/C – GS) 50%
Looking at the Warriors’ roster, do you recognize any names? Kevon Looney is going to miss extended time now, which means it’s time for Cauley-Stein to get as many minutes as he can handle. He’s averaging five boards per game now, but expect that to tick up as his minutes continue to climb closer to the 28-29 mark.
Luke Kennard (SG – DET) 56%
Tim Frazier. Derrick Rose. Reggie Jackson. The Pistons’ backcourt is dealing with a rash of injuries, which means a lot of playing time for Kennard. He’s rewarding Detroit with his playmaking so far, as he has 12 assists in his past two games. You’ll take those numbers from a guy who is likely a backup on your team. What’s more, Kennard is going to continue to see his usage and minutes climb with the extent of injuries on the team. He’s logged 32 or more minutes in his past four games and his usage climb to at least 26.2% in two of his past three games.
Kris Dunn (PG/SG – CHI) 5%
Really? Are we going to do this again with Dunn? I thought I was, well, done with Dunn, but here we are. Dunn is a guy that I’m streaming only if I need steals. I was shocked to look at the league leaderboard and see that Dunn trailed only Ben Simmons in steals (21 to 20) despite averaging just 20 minutes per game. I’m not buying in, but I’ll ride the wave while I can to boost my steals.
Dwight Powell (PF/C – DAL) 53%
Powell is a guy I have rostered all over the place. He was huge for fantasy managers last season, and he’s getting his minutes increased each game he’s out there. He hit 34 minutes Wednesday, which means the limits are off. The Mavericks have said that they want to play Powell and Porzingis together on the floor and they played 24 minutes together on Wednesday. If Powell is out there in your league, grab him. He can help defensively with blocks, rebounds, and offense, too.
Kevin Huerter (SG – ATL) 43%
Speaking of minutes restrictions, it looks like Huerter is nearly off of his, too. He’s averaging 25 minutes per game in his past three games and his usage should tick up more with Collins out. He’s been disappointing so far this season, but he shot 38.5 percent from behind the arc last year. Check the Huerter manager in your league. It’s likely that he or she is frustrated, which makes for a good buy-low opportunity.
Dwight Howard (PF/C – LAL) 60%
When Howard blocked Coby White, I audibly yelled “holy sh*t” in my house. Howard looks like he’s back, and his numbers to this point back it up. He looks rejuvenated out there and doesn’t look as washed as he was over the past few years. Right now, Howard is shooting 79.2 percent from the field. That would shatter the all-time record so we obviously know that’s going down. But can he get to 63-64 percent? I think it’s realistic and you’ll take that for your team.
Isaiah Thomas (PG – WAS) 60%
Thomas overtook Ish Smith in the starting lineup, which is great news. The numbers left a lot to be desired, though. He’s sharing the court more now with Bradley Beal, so there will be an adjustment period while Washington figures out how to navigate the usage there. Thomas and Beal played 20 minutes together, while Smith and Beal played 22 together. If we can get that staggered usage to around 17 minutes or so, I think you’ll see Thomas’ numbers improve. He’s a must-roster player right now, and while he’s at 100 percent for his free-throw percentage right now, it’s realistic to expect him to come in around his career numbers at 87.4 percent.